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Talent Management in a Shrinking Global Village

Talent, that’s the challenge, never more so than in the middle of the worst set of economic conditions since the depression. That challenge is only going to get tougher in markets like Europe with pay rises that are flat – or non-existent – taking away one of the most obvious motivational incentives. Will talent move on as a consequence? Of course it will, it would be naive to think otherwise.

Talent Management in a shrinking Global VillageAccording to the Deloitte 2013 Top Five Global Employer Rewards Priorities Survey, finding, motivating and keeping talent will remain the top challenge for Employers around the globe. Shortage, motivation, and retention of qualified talent far outpaced all other choices with 26% of respondents citing it as their main problem.

The solution is effective talent management – but that of course may be easier said than done. A good starting point though would be agreeing on a definition. There are multiple interpretations of the term, understandably enough given the differing natures of the various business sectors. According to the CIPD, talent  is “the systematic attraction, identification, development, engagement, retention and deployment of those individuals who are of particular value to an organisation, either in view of their ‘high potential’ for the future or because they are fulfilling business/operation-critical roles”.

To provide an indication of why talent management matters, a recent PriceWaterhouseCooper study found that CEOs find themselves changing their talent strategies more often than their approaches to risk management, with skills shortages seen as the main threat to continued commercial expansion. One in four CEOs cited instances when they were unable to pursue a market opportunity because of lack of available talent.

With that in mind, it’s clear that talent management needs to be strategic, not a series of tactical initiatives, if businesses are to have a chance of mapping how their talent management needs are likely to evolve.

Interestingly two thirds of respondents to PwC’s study expect talent to come from within organisations rather than from outside, suggesting that internal talent management is the critical priority.

“Four years into the financial crisis, we find CEO’s more grounded about the risks and changing conditions for growth,” notes Dennis Nally, PwC Chairman. “The focus on talent and customers today is a natural ‘next step’ towards establishing their organisations in the markets where they operate and building the trust needed for the business of tomorrow. That’s why so many CEO’s are changing talent strategies to improve their ability to attract and retain the right people. Skills shortages are very real – just 12% of CEO’s say they’re finding it easier to hire people in their industries – and the constraints are having quantifiable impacts on corporate growth. Just as our customers are changing rapidly, so are our workforce’s – and our talent needs are changing, too.”

It’s a view backed up by the annual Talent Management Survey conducted by HR services provider NorthgateArinso (NGA). That finds that 87% of business people believe that talent identification would be critical to the success of their organisations over the next three years while more than half – 51% – believed that their industry suffered from a lack of suitable candidates.

“Talent management – in particular ensuring that existing talent can be nurtured, new talent can be attracted, and key positions can be replaced if necessary – is a critical concern of businesses,” says Michael Custers, Vice President of Strategic Marketing at NGA. “There is a real worry out there that there is a lack of readily available talent and that potentially this will impact on a business’s ability to deliver its strategic vision.”

This moves us on to solutions and approaches and the conflict that often exists between HR lead organisations and those willing to use third parties such as recruiter/head hunters to solve skills shortages. In reality a long term formalised partnership is needed for all to benefit.

This article is not about HR bashing but getting the Boardroom to realise that the talent management strategy needs to embrace more than in house recruiting especially for senior international positions where you need to be tapping the worldwide talent pool. Going fishing doesn’t mean you will catch fish especially if you don’t know where to go fishing and you don’t have the right tackle and bait.

In our view the role of HR is to ensure internal buy-in to the recruitment process, the delivery of a quality job description and benefits package and making sure the Company is ready to handle the process professionally at all stages as the Company’s brand is in the hands of the weakest link. The handling of actual recruitment needs to be thought through and there is nothing wrong with operating a mixed model of internal recruitment with outside suppliers and this can often deliver the best overall results.

Yes, it involves fees which are substantial but no more than having external auditors to support and check on the professionalism of in house accounting staff and a fraction of the costs of putting right recruitment mistakes.

Whichever way you chose to go you need to be proactive and there is a lot more to talent management than listing a job on your website with a bit of social media support.

We are happy to have a free initial consultation with any Directors that are concerned about the effectiveness of their businesses current recruitment strategy as our expertise lies in the worldwide sourcing of talent.

Author: Chris Slay

Skills Provision International will allow our articles/quotes to be reproduced on other formats as long as full accreditation is given.